Bangladesh has called for taking collective approaches to improve situation of migrant workers globally and also urged the international community to stop practice of visa trading in the labour recruiting countries.
Bangladesh Parliamentarians’ Caucus on Migration and Development chairman Md Israfil Alam MP made the call while speaking at the United Nations’ High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Goal in New York on Wednesday.
Israfil Alam, who is leading a caucus delegation at the HLPF, emphasized developing human rights based and gender-responsive bilateral, regional and multilateral labour mobility agreement in accordance with ILO standards to improve situation on the ground.
The Bangladesh lawmaker focused on migration related to targets of 8.7 and 8.8 SDGs, stipulating to protect labor rights and promote safe and secure working environments of all workers, including migrant workers.
‘We need to stop practice of visa trading in some labour recruiting countries,’ he said.
Emphasizing on ethical recruitment of migrant workers, he mentioned the unholy role of middlemen who were not recognized by any law or policy related to migration.
‘But they often obstruct ethical and transparent recruitment, enhance cost of migration, and add-on to the vulnerabilities of low skilled and semiskilled workers,’ he said.
Israfil Alam said that to achieve the target 8.8 it was important to ensure accountability of the middlemen.
In line with Global Compact on Migration, he called upon people concerned to prohibit confiscation or non consensual retention of work contracts, travel documents by recruiters, employers or middlemen.
‘This can deprive migrants to fully exercise their human rights including their freedom of movement and free association.’
He put importance on regularization which allows more chances for social cohesion by reducing inequalities and discriminations and allowing migrant workers to contribute more.
About 23 million Bangladeshis may be internally displaced in next 20 years due to global warming and sea level rise, he noted.
About Rohingya people, Israfil Alam said that Bangladesh has been giving shelters to more than one million forcibly displaced Rohingyas.
‘Under the able leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh recognized the human face of these unfortunate people. This crisis will result into a huge environmental cost for Bangladesh. We seek your support to ensure their safe and dignified return.’
Describing migrants as valuable human lives, he said that it was ‘our collective responsibility to preserve their lives of all migrants.’
On domestic front, he said that Bangladesh government put enormous efforts to upgrade its law. It had been revised in 2013. The exercise created more synergies with SDG target 8.8 and adherence to ILO standard.
Caucus member Mahjabeen Khaled MP and global migration expert and WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque were present at the session.